Thailand, a backpackers paradise, whose economy reflects in its capital's name is a country I was least interested in visiting. Low airfares, easy connectivity, visa-on-arrival and budget travel couldn't lure me for a long time. I became a prisoner of my own thoughts - how can an uber popular destination have hidden attractions? But magic is not limited to Antarctica. Sometimes it is right in front of your eyes. What you need is a curious mind and an explorer's eyes.
Beyond Bangkok: 10 Hidden Attractions in Thailand for laid-back travelers
1. Phu Kradueng National Park
Phu Kradueng National Park remains one of the less frequented tourist attractions in Thailand, owing to the toil one needs to put in before enjoying the natural beauty of the place. At a high point of over 1,300 m over sea level, the park offers visitors the perfect abode to spend quality time away from the hustle and bustle of the overcrowded beaches of Thailand. While a majority of tourists consider the park as a single-day activity, the option of spending a night over is also available. You can easily get tents and sleeping bags to spend a night in this hidden attraction.
2. Prasat Hin Phimai Khmer Shrine
Considered as one of the pristine examples of Khmer culture in Thailand, Prasat Hin Phimai Khmer Shrine is a must-visit attraction for people looking to travel slow. Located at nearly three-hour drive from Bangkok, this ancient temple offers travelers a glimpse of the proud Khmer culture. To absorb the full beauty of the place and to explore the region in a detailed manner, rent a bike from local vendors.
3. Ko Tarutao (Desert Island)
When it comes to spending a day out in the sun, most people rush to world-famous beaches of Thailand. However, the downside is that most Thailand beaches are teeming with party animals, and for those looking for a quiet time and space to reflect and introspect, it may not be the ideal setting.
Ko Tarutao promises the perfect ambience to tourists looking to spend quiet time, and arguably, there is no better desert island in Thailand than Ko Tarutao. The island is secluded and you can spend an entire day out in the sun just by yourself. Although there are limited options of snorkeling, but the island does have a dense jungle which becomes a perfect spot for hiking. Food and accommodation is cheap, as the locals run modest restaurants and lodges. A perfect place for laid-back Thailand holidays, you can visit this desert island to spend some peaceful time with family and friends.
4. Ko Phayam
Ko Phayam in Ranong remains another secluded tourist attraction, as it is a night’s drive from the capital city of Bangkok. However, for tourists looking to enjoy the natural beauty and splendor of pristine beaches without feeling choked among hordes of tourists, Ko Phayam offers the ideal setting. The place offers delicious seafood and affordable accommodation. For tourists who are particular about where they stay, the place has a good availability of high-end resorts. Many Thailand tour package operators will guide you through the best accommodation in this less frequented tourist destination.
5. Nan Province
Nan province is nearly over 650 km from the capital city of Bangkok. Traveling to this hidden Thailand tourist attraction by bus remains a popular option although AirAsia Thailand does operate flights to the province. The majority of tourists to Thailand might not have probably heard of the place, but for those seeking solitude and individual space, few tourist attractions can compete with Nan province. Nestled between beautiful mountains, the province is as laid-back as a place can get! You can literally spend hours marveling at the beauty of the place without seeing another soul. The hilltop temple of Wat Phra That Khao Noi and 16th century temple Wat Phumin are among the top tourist attractions in the province.
6. Wat Chalermprakiat Prajongklao Rachanusorn
One of the most aesthetically-pleasing Buddhist temples, this tourist attraction is a must-visit for tourists looking to take in the marvelous architecture and serenity Buddhist temples have come to be associated with. The cave temple appeals to the discerning traveller, and after taking in the majestic beauty of the place, you can sit back and relax.
7. Similan Islands
of the best diving sites all over Thailand, the Similan islands are regarded as one of the best less-frequented tourist attractions in Thailand. Located in western Thailand, this 24 km chain of islands offer the best experience for snorkeling. For laid-back tourists, a day spent idling around the pristine Thailand beaches can offer the perfect ambience for reflection. Key tourists attractions at the Similan islands include Christmas Point, Elephant Rock, and East of Eden.
8. Ban Rak Thai
Ban Rak Thai translates to ‘Thai loving village’ and the place has a quite a history to it. It was established by fighters from the Yunan province of China after the communists took over China. A majority of people of this village speak fluent Mandarin and you can’t help but notice the Chinese influence on the village – from signboards to food. The village known for its aromatic tea and pine forests. A visit to Ban Rak Thai can sometimes make you feel that you are not in Thailand anymore, but that remains the beauty of this sleepy village. You will not find a lot of tourists in this village, and the ones you find will be in search of some laidback vacation time.
9. Khao Luang Cave
Located in Khao Luang Mountains, this spiritual tourism attraction is revered among followers of all religions. The chambers of the cave lie nearly 90ft below the ground hosting over 180 Buddha statues. The Reclining Buddha and Buddha image remain the main tourist attractions – both of these were cast under the reign of King Rama V.
10. Doi Mon Jong
The road to Doi Mon Jong is as beautiful as the place itself. Lined with towering forests with the sunlight cutting across like a golden line. A trek to this beautiful mountain range is filled with excitement and awe. Located in the Omkoi Wildlife Sanctuary, you need to first reach Chiang Mai and then head to Omkoi prefecture. The journey to Doi Mon Jong is then completed by a small truck. An important thing tourists need to remember is that Doi Mong Jong does not offer any accommodation facilities and you need to arrange it for yourself.
These are the top 10 hidden tourist attractions in Thailand that you must visit. If you are planning to visit soon, these top 10 tourist attractions should be up on your list.
Are you a beach bum like me? Then this Travel Guide for Thailand's best beaches is for you
If you know some more less-frequented tourist attractions in Thailand, I would love to hear from you 🙂